House Passes Bill to Curb Tax Return Identity Theft

Michael Cohn reports:

The House has approved legislation to increase the criminal penalties against identity thieves who steal taxpayer information to file fraudulent returns.

The Stopping Tax Offenders and Prosecuting Identity Theft Act, H.R. 4362, was introduced in April by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. The bill aims to address the problem of tax return identity theft by strengthening criminal penalties and increasing the prosecution rate of tax return identity thieves. The bill would add tax fraud to the list of offenses as a predicate for aggravated identity theft charges, subject to two- to five-year mandatory sentencing guidelines.

Read more on AccountingToday.

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  1. IA Eng - August 8, 2012

    This is a start; as long as their is no empathy for the people who are convicted of the offense.

    This may well be a stepping stone for other more severe cases of identity theft.

    The problem with all this is that people who particiapte in these illegal activity typically plan on doing this, and they typically are willing to take a personal risk. With that being said, it may curb an occasional person who was thinking of doing an illegal activity.

    The hard core offenders will simply smirk at this effort. I am sure if they are caught, they will serve more time than what this offers.

    My Biggest pet peeve is, its GREAT that these legislations are in effect; but if the Q&A was better on the processing side, which would send alerts BEFORE the activity occurs, many a potential criminal would be caught up front. Simple things like W2 addresses and the check address MUST match, would curb some issues.

    It just seems like its another log on the dam to hold back the flood of issues; its only going to fix the issue for a short time. As long as the “condition” / availability of the action remains, it will continue to be exploited.

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